I’m still in a little bit of la-la land is how Gary Ballough described his frame of mind after receiving the news early Tuesday morning that he’ll be the throttleman for the Dubai-based Victory Team’s No. 33 boat for the 2018 Union Internationale Motonautique XCAT World Championship season.
Gary Ballough and Ahmed Al Hameli celebrate their victory at the Dubai Grand Prix to close out the 2017 XCAT World Championship. Photo courtesy Raffaello Bastiani/XCAT World Championship
“I don’t know if that’s the best way to describe it, but I’m on a pretty big high to be part of a team that’s as respected as the Victory Team is worldwide,” Ballough said, after being asked to re-join the team a couple of months after he and driver Ahmed Al Ahmeli won the final race of the 2017 season in Dubai. “Also I know almost everyone on the team well already so that makes being a part of it even easier. I mean I have friendships with these guys that were developed before this class was even known as XCAT.
“Omar and I ran second to the Victory Team for many years,” continued Ballough, who, before the race in Dubai, hadn’t competed on the XCAT circuit since 2015 when he was running with Mouwad teammate Omar Danial of Switzerland. “Back then you were doing well to get anywhere near them. Now to be on the other side is an incredible feeling.”